An Invitation Precedes Influence

Photo by Simona Sergi on Unsplash

When most people think about selling or persuasion, they think of the presentation or the “talk.” While important, there is a more critical step that must occur before the words leave your mouth. And when communicating with those closest to me, I’m ALWAYS tempted to blow by this step – especially if it’s a critical conversation.

There’s an old proverb that says, “When the student is ready the teacher will appear.” 

What if you can’t wait to deliver your “talk?”

Your 18-year-old doesn’t want to go to college.

Your aging parents aren’t taking their medicine.

One of your top customers is about to switch to a cheaper, less effective solution.


In these moments, instinct pushes us to barge in, make our case, deliver our speech, make the critical point. We think, “They HAVE to see the truth!” This is when I’m reminded to pause and remember this critical truth: an invitation always precedes influence.

Until the person you seek to influence asks the question – audibly or subconsciously, “What do you think I should do?” your message will not only most likely be ignored but potentially create more resistance to future conversations.  

This begs the question, how do we get invited to share our perspective by friends, family, prospects, or customers? 


Focus on the three P’s – Priority, Pressure & Permission:

Priority – clearly articulate your intent is to help them get what they want. If they aren’t the hero of the story, they aren’t interested in the story.   

Pressure – remove any pressure from the conversation by communicating you are only offering an idea to be considered. If your recommendation is the only option, you are a person to be avoided. People don’t like to be told what to do. Shift your language and posture from “You should…” to “Should you…?” By giving up the illusion of control, you open the door to influence.

Permission – humble ask for a seat at the table and the opportunity to share your thoughts. If they agree, you now are talking to a receptive audience who will willing consider an alternative point of view.


When considering how to craft your invitation and incorporating the three P’s, it may be helpful to simply remind yourself of this simple truth: the number one reason anyone accepts an invitation is based on who it’s from.  


What Next?

If you found this blog helpful and want to go deeper into the concepts we covered, you can read more in our blog, Take “No” for an Answer to Create Receptivity, or check out our new book, UnReceptive, at

As Co-founder and CEO, Tom’s primary role is to create content that helps people live, sell, and serve more effectively. Find him on LinkedIn

Leave a Comment


The best way to get to know us is to know what we value. If we teach it we live it, because what we do speaks far more eloquently than what we say. We’ll always choose people over profits, and we’re most fulfilled and effective when we serve. It drives our culture, frames our training programs and transforms the lives of the clients we partner with.